Endocrine Pollutants Spike in U.S. Rivers During Low-Flow Periods

The Santa Cruz River just north of Sahuarita, Arizona. Photo by $1LENCE D00600D.

The pipeline leak that spilled sewage into Arizona’s Santa Cruz River is sealed, but another pollution problem persists — one many other American waterways share.

Contaminants of emerging concern, or CECs, are chemicals from drugs and personal care products that most wastewater treatment plants don’t filter out. Some, including estrogenic compounds from products like synthetic birth control, disrupt the hormones of aquatic wildlife, harming reproduction.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
U.S. Streams Like Santa Cruz River See High Endocrine Pollutant Concentrations During Low-Flow

First Human Embryos Edited in U.S. by Scientists

An eight-cell human embryo. Image courtesy Robert Wood Johnson Medical School IVF program.

For the first time in the U.S., scientists have genetically modified human embryos. The technique could help screen out heritable diseases, but many worry where it might ultimately lead.

As rumors spread in advance of the publication, the story sparked comparisons with films like Gattaca and books like Brave New World, with their themes of genetic discrimination, DNA-as-destiny and the social dangers of tampering with human heredity.

But the research’s most important — and, to some, troubling — aspect lies in the fact that it alters the hereditary DNA known as the germline.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
First Human Embryos Edited In U.S. By Scientists

Mantle Mystery Yields to Diamond Vise

Cross section of a diamond anvil cell. Illustration by Tobias1984.

Improved imaging of the Earth’s interior has unlocked new subsurface mysteries, including an area 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) down where the mantle’s usual flow pattern changes.

Now, at a lab bench on the planet’s surface, a team of researchers might have found the reason why.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Researchers Use Diamond Vise To Crack Mantle Mystery

Study: Expect Southwest U.S. Monsoon Storms to Intensify

Arizona monsoon storm near Carefree Highway. Photo by Shredex.

The most extreme monsoon storms are growing more intense in central and southwestern Arizona, according to a study by the University of Arizona and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

The findings conform to patterns expected under climate change conditions. Indeed, experts have already observed this effect.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Study Shows More Intense Monsoon Storms on the Horizon

Taking the Mystery Out of Microbursts

Microburst near Amarillo, Texas. Image from the National Severe Storms Laboratory. Credit: Jason Boggs.

Phoenix, Arizona, is not known for strong winds, but that all changes when monsoons annually deliver destructive downdrafts like the one that damaged its five-story Burton Barr Central Library. In this piece, and in the interview that follows it, I clear up some of the confusion that still  whirls around these blasts.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Understanding How Microbursts Are Formed

Or listen to my interview on KJZZ’s The Show.

Writing • Editing • Commentary